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State Of The Habs 2018-19


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18 hours ago, maas_art said:

Im putting money on Weber.   MB went out and got him and its still the most high profile trade he's made.  When asked if he would consider trading SW because of the rebuild MB basically said no.   So i think Weber is here as long as MB is and that means he'll most likely be the next captain. 

Weber has been named captain according to NHL.com.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Is Fleury signed to an entry-level contract yet?

Not before this deal.  He can now play in the AHL but they didnt have him under contract - some seem to think thats what the move was more about that any of the players involved although I do think that on paper Kulak is an upgrade on Valiev. 

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I'm just going to throw this here. If the powers-that-be decide it still warrants a separate thread as per previous seasons, I'll start posting it there.

...

Habs Magic Number (MN) is 165.

Fingers crossed we can pull a Vegas out of our Habs hats and put together a season that surprises everyone.

GO HABS GO!

MN 201819.jpg

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Really fascinating interview with Bergevin on Sportsnet.ca with Eric Engels... a couple of salient points:

- Said in 2016-17, some of his players were upset that he didn't go out and add a scorer at the deadline. MB says he doesn't recall who was available but there wasn't much and that at the end of the day certain player here didn't produce and chose to blame him instead. MB says that says more about the players if they want to blame it on the GM. On this point, I'm agreed with Bergevin. We weren't in a position to sacrifice the future at that point to add one veteran.

- Reiterates that Radulov's demands were not reasonable. From a prior interview and this one, Bergevin's version seems to be that Radulov got the offer from Dallas and then wanted the Habs to match the difference in taxes. Bergevin said only way that would have made sense to Habs was if their cap was 4M higher than the Stars to compensate for the tax differences. He says when he signed Radulov, no other teams wanted to take a chance on him (contradicts info from that day when reports were that multiple teams were in, but maybe that was talk created by Radulov's camp). Bergevin said he had a gentleman's deal with Radulov that they would see how year one went then talk extension in January when they were allowed. Bergevin states that he kept his end of the agreement and negotiated but that Radulov wouldn't get off 8 years and wouldn't until he hit open market and saw no one else would give him 8 either. MB states that neither 8 years nor the same contract as Radulov got plus taxes made sense, and again I agree with him... have been saying it all along, but the NHL needs to fix the tax discrepancy unfairness brought about by a hard cap.

- On Markov, MB states his offer was one year at 4.2M, the same as his salary (but not his cap hit) in the last year of his prior deal, with "easily attainable" (Bergevin defines this as "if he kept playing at the same pace as the year before he would have made them all") bonuses that would have allowed him to get back to 5.75M. He said Markov wanted the full 5.75M guaranteed and decided to go to Russia when he wouldn't get it. MB thinks that if Markov had hired an agent, any agent would have advised Markov to take the deal but that Markov's pride got in the way. States Markov regretted not signing it afterwards but had already signed in Russia. What Bergevin says here is also plausible and again, hard to be angry at MB for not wanting to give Markov a guaranteed 5.75M. But on the other hand, you can remain angry at Bergevin for not having a back-up plan and in retrospect if you sit on cap space without spending it, it does not good to play hardball with Markov if you don't end up using the money elsewhere.

- He also admitted that maybe Alzner will end up being a mistake, but says you have to overspend on free agency if you choose to go that route and that he'd rather overspend on D. Adds that in 3 years, people might be laughing at the Stars for the deal they gave Radulov too.

- Says he considers Paul Byron to be his best move.

- Says he is concerned about the quality of his D this year, especially with Weber out. A stark contrast to his cockiness about the D a year ago.

 

Maybe one of the best interviews Bergevin has ever done. Finally sounds like he's being honest and willing to admit certain mistakes and shortcomings of the team. Also finally gives a realistic side of the story with Radulov and Markov. Combine that with the team's decision to sit Plekanec and Alzner and maybe just maybe there is some learning happening within the organization.

 

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15 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

Maybe one of the best interviews Bergevin has ever done. Finally sounds like he's being honest and willing to admit certain mistakes and shortcomings of the team. Also finally gives a realistic side of the story with Radulov and Markov. Combine that with the team's decision to sit Plekanec and Alzner and maybe just maybe there is some learning happening within the organization.

 

Well and as has been said before David Poile wasnt great at first.   The difference here is that MB inherited a solid team but even then we were never true contenders and maybe at that point he just wasnt in a position to make us one.  I think our coffers were fairly bare in terms of things we could trade in order to get those missing pieces. 

So far things have looked a lot better & im willing to wait and see how this season goes. 

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Really encouraging game tonight for two reasons:

1. The line-up decisions showed that maybe coaching/management has turned the page on personnel evaluation.

2. Some of the young guys showed they can keep up and be cogs here.

Take Mike Reilly, for example. I really had doubts he would re-produce what he did in pre-season and I really doubted he would do well playing in the top 4 against top opposition, but he held his own and looked good. And playing with Juulsen (who also did well), it wasn't like he was being propped up by a Subban or Weber or Karlsson. He played against strong players and did well. So Habs fans can look at the D and say ok, we have Mete and Juulsen and Reilly and maybe Brook going forward and even if you trade Weber and Petry for younger guys, you still have 4 guys who could be in your top 6 for another 5 years.

Drouin looked much better on the wing. JK didn't look out of place and by my eyes, played a decent amount against Matthews and/or Tavares, so he wasn't sheltered all that much. Armia looked much better than in pre-season. I feel like we have 8-10 good middle 6 players. Need a couple of guys to really step up from that group because our top-line players aren't elite, but we can use our depth and wheels to our advantage to wear down other line-ups. The D is still going to need work because those young guys will dip, but some encouraging signs this team can be good in a year or two.

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I still cant get over the fact that Karl Alzner was scratched last night.

Look at it this way: Alzner is supposed to be "in his prime."   Its not like he's young & needs to develop. Its not like he's injured and needs a rest.  After 8+ seasons and 670+ games you're not going to get anything different from KA than you already have.  So this really makes me wonder what the long-term plan is.   If he's sitting, in his case, the coaching staff is clearly saying he's not one of our best 6 options.

So, does that mean we will try to trade him?  Will we waive him?  And from Alzner's standpoint, he's played 7 straight years without missing a single game. He cant be happy.  Maybe he's going to ask for a trade. Im not sure who would take him unless we brought another bad contract.  Its too long a deal to buy him out.  Maybe we can take on a worse, shorter deal & buy out that player?   Is there any situation where Karl Alzner is useful for a different team? I cant think of one. 

 

Interesting (and really positive) development for sure.  

Mete - Petry
Reilly - Juulsen
Ouellett - Benn

And we still have Weber on the IR and Kulak and Olofsson as potential call ups. 

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42 minutes ago, maas_art said:

I still cant get over the fact that Karl Alzner was scratched last night.

Look at it this way: Alzner is supposed to be "in his prime."   Its not like he's young & needs to develop. Its not like he's injured and needs a rest.  After 8+ seasons and 670+ games you're not going to get anything different from KA than you already have.  So this really makes me wonder what the long-term plan is.   If he's sitting, in his case, the coaching staff is clearly saying he's not one of our best 6 options.

So, does that mean we will try to trade him?  Will we waive him?  And from Alzner's standpoint, he's played 7 straight years without missing a single game. He cant be happy.  Maybe he's going to ask for a trade. Im not sure who would take him unless we brought another bad contract.  Its too long a deal to buy him out.  Maybe we can take on a worse, shorter deal & buy out that player?   Is there any situation where Karl Alzner is useful for a different team? I cant think of one. 

 

Interesting (and really positive) development for sure.  

Mete - Petry
Reilly - Juulsen
Ouellett - Benn

And we still have Weber on the IR and Kulak and Olofsson as potential call ups. 

If he requested a trade i'm sure they would try to accommodate him but I see nobody touching him at this point. I don't see this problem going away anytime soon.

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19 minutes ago, H_T_L said:

If he requested a trade i'm sure they would try to accommodate him but I see nobody touching him at this point. I don't see this problem going away anytime soon.

Agreed.  Even the teams (I think there were 4) that offered him contracts wouldnt want him now I think.  

 

Im starting to think the single best move we made this summer was hiring Luke Richardson.  Several young defensman have said how great he's been & it looks like the demotions are directly his call.  Last year Alzner, Schlemko and Benn would all be in our top 4.   This year Alzner is scratched, Benn is pushed back to much more manageable minutes * and Schlemko, while injured, probably would have played lower down the lineup too - and he did look like the best of the 3 in preseason.

(* there was an interesting article late last year on EOTP where they showed that Benn wasnt playing much different in his first 2 years with us. The big issue was deployment and quality of matchups.  Its probably no coincidence he looked better last night playing against the lower tier of the Toronto roster most of the night). 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, ramcharger440 said:

i always felt JJ was a soft coach! you could see the new system coming together during camp i think that as much as having mobile young d men will be a big help. and if last night was any indication i won't be missing chucky at all either!

JJ was an awful coach. So was Lacroix. So was Lefebvre. These were all guys who held their positions far too long because they were friends with Bergevin. Daigneault made zero adjustments to help the D, the PK was brutal, the PP was brutal the year he ran that, and he sounded like he had no clue when he did interviews. So glad he's gone.

And yes, Richardson might be a step up, but the standard right now is pretty low. Will give this more time to see how good he and Ducharme and Bouchard really are, but so far, the initial returns are promising.

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6 hours ago, H_T_L said:

If he requested a trade i'm sure they would try to accommodate him but I see nobody touching him at this point. I don't see this problem going away anytime soon.

What would it mean for the team if he was soured about sitting to the point that he decides to jump ship and go play in the KHL or elsewhere?

Or is that not an option for him?

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15 minutes ago, MuddyWaterMoose said:

What would it mean for the team if he was soured about sitting to the point that he decides to jump ship and go play in the KHL or elsewhere?

Or is that not an option for him?

His only options are to be traded ( who wants him?), bought out ( not sure if that window is still open), get waived ( assuming he doesn't have a NMC), retire (unlikely) or leave the team and void his contract. With the money we're paying him, I can't see him leaving on his own. Not an issue this year because we have tons of Cap space.

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I'm watching the Vegas/Puffs game and they showed MB in the box. Now, the Habs have scouts that can scout the teams, so, why is he there? Can a trade be in the offing? 

 

 

 

<Stirs the pot > 

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15 minutes ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Additionally... State of the Habs. I am still really concerned with Price's performances. He struggled in preseason. His save percentage against Toronto was sub-900. Is anyone concerned that Carey is, like, the new Cam Ward or something?

He wasn't good in pre-season but he played pretty well against Toronto. The D was pretty weak on the goals as well... Peca got taken to the bank on one, Lehkonen blew coverage in close on the OT winner, and all 3 shots were pretty good ones from top-tier scorers. Not sure too many goalies would have stopped any of them, and Price also stopped a couple of high-danger chances.

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1 minute ago, BigTed3 said:

He wasn't good in pre-season but he played pretty well against Toronto. The D was pretty weak on the goals as well... Peca got taken to the bank on one, Lehkonen blew coverage in close on the OT winner, and all 3 shots were pretty good ones from top-tier scorers. Not sure too many goalies would have stopped any of them, and Price also stopped a couple of high-danger chances.

Seems to be flailing around a lot and not as strong positional as he used to be

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6 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

He wasn't good in pre-season but he played pretty well against Toronto. The D was pretty weak on the goals as well... Peca got taken to the bank on one, Lehkonen blew coverage in close on the OT winner, and all 3 shots were pretty good ones from top-tier scorers. Not sure too many goalies would have stopped any of them, and Price also stopped a couple of high-danger chances.

This is true.

I think I'm just worried about the recent trend in his game. He was pretty poor last season. Yeah, the team was bad... but Carey was contributing to that. Starting the preseason poorly I'm always reminded about his "chill out" comments from years ago, but... it just feels like... no, don't chill out! Work hard, get better. Stop more pucks.

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11 hours ago, kinot-2 said:

I'm watching the Vegas/Puffs game and they showed MB in the box. Now, the Habs have scouts that can scout the teams, so, why is he there? Can a trade be in the offing? 

<Stirs the pot > 

Maybe he was there to see Celine Dion.

Seriously though, a lot of games feature rival GMs in attendance... if you happen to be in the area, why wouldnt you take in a game - and you're not sitting in the stands most likely. 
There's certainly a chance that during the patches-tatar/suzuki deal they talked about other players & are planning on making another trade.  Maybe they will take Alzner if we take on one of their bad contracts & MB wants to see first-hand how bad that player is.  

 

1 hour ago, jennifer_rocket said:

Additionally... State of the Habs. I am still really concerned with Price's performances. He struggled in preseason. His save percentage against Toronto was sub-900. Is anyone concerned that Carey is, like, the new Cam Ward or something?

I fully expected Carey to be bad in preseason. He always is.   Goaltending is a game of inches and the difference between being all-in and taking it easy is probably a few goals a night - and during preseason i think the last thing anyone wants (carey especially) is a groin injury or something.

In game 1 i thought he was quite good - maybe one of the best games we've seen him play in a year.   He was tracking the puck well. My only criticism is that he seemed to be doing too much - like pouncing a little early or flopping around more than he usually does, but in all honesty thats probably nerves.  He knows he pooped the bed last year & he wants to be the best in the world again.  Once he gets a few more good outings under his belt Im sure he'll settle down.

And I definitely wouldn't make the comparison to Cam Ward.  Ward was amazing one post season and very good at other times but never as good for as long as Price.  He was always a sporadic goalie.  Price was consistently the best goalie on the planet - and arguably one of the top 4-5 players - for like 3-4 years straight.  He had a bad year last year. I am pretty sure he's going to bounce back this year. 

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2 hours ago, jennifer_rocket said:

This is true.

I think I'm just worried about the recent trend in his game. He was pretty poor last season. Yeah, the team was bad... but Carey was contributing to that. Starting the preseason poorly I'm always reminded about his "chill out" comments from years ago, but... it just feels like... no, don't chill out! Work hard, get better. Stop more pucks.

Carey was bad last year, no doubt. I think everyone knows it, including Carey, and MB has referenced it several times, so it's not like anyone's trying to cover it up. I posted a while back that Stephane Waite said he and Carey stopped practicing the basics of goaltending last year because they assumed he had those down but that this year they went back to make sure he is doing those things routinely, so maybe there will be a change.

I do also think Carey kind of gave up on last season a bit after we started tanking. And then of course, you had his slow, bad-at-moving-pucks defence from a season ago that made it ten times worse. If the Habs do make moves to get rid of Alzner and Benn, even if we're less experienced, I think we'll see that pays dividends for Price as well. His contract remains a big concern,but I have faith he can at least be a top 10-12 goalie in the league and maybe better.

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